Do you have a hidden nutrient deficiency? It may not be so hidden. Just take a look at your face to find out!

Vitamin deficiencies—more common than you might think—can cause serious health problems.  They can even lead to death. For example, Vitamin A deficiency leads to blindness and even death in children around the world. (1)

On top of that, over 1 billion people across the world are deficient in Vitamin D. In fact, the problem is so widespread that it’s been called an epidemic. (2)

When your body lacks the nutrients it needs, every part of your body can suffer—generally from the inside out.  So if your skin is showing signs of a nutrient deficiency, then you know it’s affecting your insides, too.  Even if you track your nutrient levels or take a multivitamin, you may still not be getting all the nutrients your body needs. All you have to do is look in the mirror.

Here are five signs of nutrient deficiency written all over your face:

1. Puffy Eyes

puffy eyes nutrient deficiency

Do your eyes look extra puffy in the morning? Sure, puffy eyes may indicate that you’re not getting enough sleep, but they can also be sign of low iodine levels in the body.  Don’t rely on processed table salt for your iodine – it isn’t a form that is easily used by the body.  Iodine will help push out endocrine disruptors, like fluorine, chlorine, and bromine, and support thyroid function, lessening that puffiness. Also, lower your salt intake to decrease puffiness. (3)

Eat this: Washed sea vegetables, like dulse, kelp, and wakame; pastured eggs; kefir (preferably from raw goat’s milk); and beans, like lima and navy.

2. Extremely Pale Skin

pale nutrient deficiency

You might notice you’re looking a little pale in the dead of winter, but if your skin has become overly pale, it could be a sign that you’re lacking Vitamin B12. If your body isn’t getting enough B12, you’ll start to feel fatigued, and your skin can suffer.  Animal foods may be good sources of Vitamin B12, but there are vegetarian alternatives we should all think about.  And consider taking a vitamin B12 supplement. (4)

Eat this: Vitamin B12 Supplements, Pastured eggs and/or raw rennet-free cheeses, with cruelty-free goat’s cheese recommended over cow’s cheese.

3. Dry Hair

dry hair nutrient deficiency

Has your hair felt extra dry and brittle lately? Have you noticed a large amount of dandruff on your scalp? These could be signs that you’re lacking Biotin or Vitamin B7. A biotin deficiency can also be the result of using antibiotics. Also, hair loss occurs with a nutrient deficiency, like low Vitamin E levels. (5, 6)

Eat this: Nuts, especially walnuts, sunflower seeds, green peas, legumes, and mushrooms – and even avocados!

4. Pale Lips

pale lips nutrient deficiency

Pale lips can be a sign that you’re lacking in iron.  In fact, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiencies in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  Many people know about iron-deficient anemia, but any fatigue could be a sign that your body needs more iron. (7)

Eat this:  Spirulina, lentils, dark chocolate (Cacao!), spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, and raisins.

5. Bleeding Gums

bleeding gums nutrient deficiency

If your gums have been bleeding lately, it could indicate a lack of Vitamin C in your body. We take Vitamin C to fend off the common cold, but Vitamin C deficiency will lead to more than sniffles:  bleeding gums, swollen joints, and nosebleeds to name a few.  Keep in mind that we don’t make or store vitamin C, so you have to get plenty in your diet every day! (8)

Eat this: Guava, red peppers, kiwi fruit, broccoli, strawberries, and rose hips.

1. Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin A deficiency
2. NCBI – Vitamin D deficiency
3. Global Healing Center  – Iodine-rich foods
4. Global Healing Center – Vitamin B12
5. Live Strong – dry scalp article
6. Food NDTV
7. Mayo Clinic – Iron deficiency anemia
8. Dr. Axe – Vitamin C rich foods